(Those who are old enough to have listened to Radio NZ story time on the weekend may remember that one)
So today was train day. Up at 5am and down checking out by 5:30am. Checked in at Penn Station and got to wait in the Acela Lounge until train time. Boarded pretty quickly and got myself situated in my little roomette. We passed through Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The last two were in the dark. We also passed through Charlottesville VA but I didn’t see or hear anything.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included in my fare but it was a dinette, not a dining car so the food was… pretty average really. There was also no observation car so most of the trip was in my room – it was cure and comfortable so not a hardship. Pretty much everyone on the train was American so I was something of a novelty at mealtimes… I don’t mind chatting though so it was all good. I met people from Philly, Roanoke, Long Island, Washington and New York.
We passed through countless small towns and acres upon acres of corn and soybeans. We also passed a wind farm that too about 20 minutes to cross – hundreds of windmills.
I saw deer, creeks, mountains which we climbed up or tunnelled through, valleys which we skirted or drive right through the middle, and trees – lots and lots of trees.
I managed to get a little bit of sleep but did spend a bit of time in the early hours just lying in bed with the blind up and watching the stars (and small towns) slip by.
Steps walked: 2,582
Distance travelled: 1,859 kms
We made it in to Chicago by 10am (on time no less!) and once I had grabbed my suitcase (saw my first Amish people at baggage collect), I got a taxi to the hotel.
Room wasn’t ready so I stuffed all my dirty laundry (which I’d prepared earlier) into my backpack and I was off to find a laundromat. Can I just say they are rare as hen’s teeth? The closest one to the hotel was 5 1/2 kms away and I walked (mainly because I didn’t yesterday). The Blue Kangaroo is on W 18th St – Little Mexico – nobody spoke English (except me) but everyone was really friendly – there were smiles and nods all over the place and at least three people showed me how to use the machines. Hot and sweaty in Chicago today. Laundry done I elected to attempt the public transport system to get back to the hotel. Two trains and a bit of walking later and I managed it.
Checked in, complained about my room, moved to another room (with an upgrade tomorrow). Basically I made my booking over four months ago and I got a cruddy room overlooking a wall. I wasn’t looking for a lake view but I thought ‘bugger it’ I booked long enough ago I shouldn’t be in the crap room. I’ll post photos next time when you can see all three rooms side by side.
Anyway, so back to the hotel and then swapped shoes (wore the wrong ones for walking 6 or 7 kms – blister time) off I went to track down the hot dog festival! A bit of walking and two buses later (people are so nice in Chicago!) and I was in Lincoln Park and snacking on a Chicago dog while listening to punk polka… yes, really. I finished off with a lavender and blueberry frozen yoghurt – delish!
Picked my dog based on queue They take their dogs seriously in Chicago Lavender and blueberry
I reversed my trip on the 151 bus but then just meandered down Michigan Ave to the hotel. A quick drink at the bar, and one to take up to the room and I’m done for the day.
Architect tour at 10am tomorrow, my photography class at 3:45 with a room upgrade at some point too.
Distance travelled: 35 kms (including public transport but not the Cardinal)